One of the many side effects of collecting lots of pens, pencils, and other writing instruments is amassing a similar collection of cases to carry everything around. Like writing instruments, cases come in a variety of sizes and shapes to meet specific needs and niches. The latest case I've been carting around falls into the category of "case meets tray," and it's called the Paco-Tray.
I've tried other cases and pen cups that convert into a handy tray when opened, but this is a unique take on the category because it offers up three distinct trays for your writing instruments. On the outside, it looks like any other rectangular pen case complete with tidy zips and a minimal logo tag, but the inside has a couple of surprises that will delight most people.
Before we jump into the inside, let's take a closer look at the outside. The case is made entirely of polyester, which makes it both strong and light. The bright red version I have here has a great texture and looks great under the light. There are several other variants to choose from, so you're sure to find something that suits your personality. The fabric has a soft but tough feel, and the overall construction feels solid. The zips are very smooth and don't make a lot of noise when opening and closing the case. I'd recommend adding some paracord or something else to the zip pulls since they tend to jingle together when the case is closed.
Once you open the case and take a peek inside, you're greeted with the three separate compartments. The middle compartment seems to be lifted up as an offering as you fold the case walls down. It reminds me of the old cantilever tool boxes or tackle boxes that my grandfather had strewn around his basement. The three compartments offer ample room for different pens, pencils, and art supplies. The middle compartment is closed in on all four sides, while the outer compartments have a small slit on the top and bottom to allow everything to compress. I've found that some smaller pens can slide out through the slit if you're opening the case in a hurry. Not a terrible thing, but something to be mindful of when opening the case.
The great thing about the trays is that they make it easy to see all the various things, but it also closes down and zips up into a small overall package. This makes it great for storage and transportation, but also superb for working.
As an added bonus, there are a few magnets in the bottom of the case that snap together to keep the trays open. This is helpful with the amount of objects and weight that the trays can hold, and the magnets add an extra bit of structure and delight that add to the overall design of this nifty little case.
In all, the premise of the case is ingenious, and the execution is nearly flawless. Combine this with the accessible price of just $16 and you've got a solid product offering. I'm sure that almost any Pen Addict reader could find a use for this case — and if not, they probably know someone who would love it, making it a great gift.
The Paco-Tray case is available in ten different colors and styles to suit every taste.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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